Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
Christopher Renfro moved to San Francisco 16 years ago and ran into a lot of what some might call luck.
In this episode, we talk about Christopher's work with Alemany Farm. The largest agricultural site in The City, volunteers grow, harvest, and distribute vegetables and fruit from the 3.5-acre plot just below Bernal Hill. He also tells us about the work he and Haley Garabato began with the Feed the People Collective, which operates out of Alemany Farm and feeds unhoused folks around town.
There's wine grapes being grown in San Francisco.
In Part 2, Christopher tells us all about the 280 Project, a viticulture apprenticeship and wine school. He partnered with a winemaker from Napa, a professor at UC Davis, and others back at home to bring BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and people who feel marginalized and want to learn anything at all about wine together to do just that.
The 280 Project is a very hands-on adventure, with apprentices taking frequent field trips, learning how grapes are grown from the ground-up. They also cover winemaking as well as the financial side of things.
Then we take a walk through Alemany Farm, starting with their outdoor kitchen. Christopher talks about the importance of location for the farm and kitchen, situated as it is between a gentrifying and affluent neighborhood and a housing project. To the south and east, it's a virtual food desert, with corner stores and chain fast-food most abundant. Up the hill in Bernal Heights, it's quite a different story.
We chat about the idea of using parts of Golden Gate Park to cultivate the land and grow food for the people. It's what some call "food parks," and it's not as radical an idea as you might think.
Another project Christopher is working on is a Black indigenous seed bank, which he tells us about. Besides providing seeds, it would be a repository of people and their food stories and histories. Count us on board for that.
Then our tour takes us up to the vines, appropriately. We end our little journey at the greenhouse.
We want to thank Christopher for his time talking with us and showing us around. Shout out to Isaiah Powell of Dragonspunk GRO for introducing us to Christopher and the 280 Project.
This episode was recorded at Alemany Farm in October 2022.